Cordoba once had 300 public baths, and they were at the center of community life. People came herd to bathe, to gossip and to arrange marriages. But once the Catholic Spaniards took control of the city from the Moorish rulers in the late 15th century, the bathhouses were closed and left to crumble. Some were opened as architectural splendors with their domed and tiled rooms, but there was no water to be found in their baths. Then about ten years ago, the Baños Arabes reopened in Cordoba as a fully functioning hammam and people quickly rediscovered the joys of a good soak, steam and scrub.
Photo courtesy of Sonia Vallejo via Flickr.